1 Corinthians 6:12-20
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
As I saw the events unfold on the capitol last week, I, being an insufferable bible-nerd, immediately thought of the second-century BCE desecration of the great temple in Jerusalem by the Seleucid (Greek) general Antiochus IV, a.k.a Antiochus Epiphanes. (If you’re familiar with the holiday Hanukkah, this is the holiday that celebrates the miraculous events and outcomes that took place following the successful response to that desecration, led by a pious family called the Maccabees.) And as I was watching, a dim and intermittent voice in my head kept saying, “send in the Maccabees.” In other words, I was horrified by what was taking place at what many pundits that day called the “temple of democracy”—a concept and moniker that I unconsciously understood but did not consciously recognize, until that day.
In today’s readings, St. Paul calls our bodies “a temple of the Holy Spirit,” as he was admonishing the Corinthians about appropriate, Christian behavior. As a bible-nerd, it is import to me to point out that the original context that precipitated these words is very different than ours (much of it being about how ancient non-Jewish followers of the Jesus movement were to engage Greco-Roman temple worship); yet, there are timeless messages that are applicable to us today.
And the message that I hear really loudly, the most salient of all them, is that I need to be more consciously aware that physical objects of all sorts--objects, nature, and certainly humans themselves--hold value, meaning, as well as a story in them. The more we understand that, I think, the less we are careless to behave in ways that dishonor and desc
When I walk around the Walnut Hills neighborhood, I see trash on virtually every step I take. And while that is a desecration in its own right, the events of last week and the NT reading today are helping me to see that trash not solely as the carelessness of certain individuals, but as the result of my own, and our society’s, seminal blindness to truly see the intrinsic value and meaning in God’s creation—and in all of God’s children, including ourselves.